It was a typical day in the Karachi factory as men prepared to get ready for the day’s work in the leather factory. The men chatted, and for some reason the conversation got on the topic of religion. Words were exchanged, the conversation became more heated, and voices rose in anger. Suddenly, one of the men accused their friend of saying things that were outrageous. He pointed at the man who uttered the words, others began to shout at the man, and within moments a crowd gathered. They picked up whatever they could find to use in beating the man, their anger grew to fury, and within moments, the man was beaten to death as the group cheered at their deed. As a mob prepared to burn the corpse, police arrived and prevented this last piece of anger from unfolding.
The man who was beaten to death in the leather factory in Karachi was a Hindu. The men who beat him were Muslims. Their argument centered around the Koran and the Muslims insisted their friend has defamed the name of Muhammad and was guilty of blasphemy. The Hindu was a member of a small minority of people who were Hindu living in a predominantly Muslim community. Although, most Muslims and Hindus live in peace in Pakistan, there are always these isolated incidents when religion gets in the way of friendship and can result in death.
It was just another day at work in the leather factory.
CIA director Michael Hayden says al-Qaeda is training operatives who “look western” and could enter the United States to conduct terrorist attacks. “They are bringing operatives in that region(northwest area of Pakistan) for training– operatives that, a phrase I wold use, wouldn’t attract your attention if they were going through the customs line at Dulles with you.” The new recruits “look western” and “would be able to come into this country… without attracting the kinds of attention that others might.” Genral Hayden also noted Osama bin Laden was no longere the operational leader of al-Qaeda and had become an”iconic figure” while day-by-day opeerations were more frequently under the direction of the Egyptian militant, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
The sad commentary about this ridiculous statement by the head of the CIA is that he doesn’t even grasp the implication of what he said to the press. It appears an assumption of General Hayden is that people with features from the Middle East would more likely capture your concern if on an airplane with them because, by his definition, they don’t look western and thus are more likely to be terrorists. In my youth, I was told I “looked Jewish” which automatically meant I was less than a real American. Now, we have an official of the Bush administration who believes those who look Middle Eastern are not like the resut of “us.” I have traveled in Israel where sometimes it is difficult separating the native Israel Sabras from Arabs. That is why Mossad agents can sometimes pass for Arabs. Should we be on the lookout for Israelis and Turks, and other-non western looking people?
Iran announced that it had fired a rocket which had a rather long range. The Russian government, which has been supportive of Iran in its conflict with the United Nations over a supposed nuclear weapon program, is upset at this latest development in Iranian weaponry. Russian deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyuko, noted: “Any movement in terms of creating such a potential weapon worries us and others. All the more since it raises suspicion toward Iran about its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon.” The Russian diplomat pointed out nations which develop such long range rockets are usually connecting them to a nuclear system.
The Russian government has used Iran as a ploy in fighting against the United States and the European Union, but its desire has always been to restrict Iran from having access to nuclear weapons. A nuclear Muslim Iran sitting on the southern boundary of Russia, a nation containing millions of Muslims, is not exactly what Putin and other leaders believes is healthy for the safety of their nation.
Following the violent death of a Moroccan teenager in Cologne, hundreds of immigrants have taken to the streets in nightly demonstratins to protest what they regard as continued evidence to be a Muslim in Germany is to be classified as a second-clas citizen. Muslim protestors interpret the death of Salih as a German attack on a Muslim, the police version fundamentally differs since in their view Salih was attempting to mug a 20 year old German man who responded with use of a knife to the heart of the Moroccan teen-ager. The police claim it is a case of self defense and they have witnesses to support that version of the incident.
The case really is not about which is the correct version, the issue stems from powerful feelings among Muslims in Germany that society treats them as second class citizens. They feel disenfranchised, they lack education opportunities, and continually are assaulted by insults from German politicians like Roland Koch. Each night, crowds come out shouting their anguished cries of “Salih, Salih” to unanswered responses.
The solution lies in resort to multiple programs of education, vocational training, equal opportunity laws to ensure equal treatment in job hiring, and efforts by German political leaders to tone down the anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Two years ago, the military of Thailand overthrew the government of Prime Minister Thaskin Shinawatra on charges his rule threatened the success of democracy in their land. This weekend, voters made Thaskin’s People Power Party the most dominant in the incoming Thai legislature. Thaskin did extremely well in southern regions of the nation which contain a large Muslim population. It appears the minority Muslims reject military actions in the south and expect that Thaskin would address their needs. However, it is doubtful if military leaders will allow Thaskin to return to the nation. Thaskin was a prominent businessman who promised to use his expertise in order to revitalize the Thai economy.
There is little hope, at this point, of allowing Thaskin to return to power. Military leaders doubt his democratic beliefs and fear he would draw upon his fortune in order to establish himself as a power within the country. Perhaps, the only hope is for some other leaders in the PPP to assume power and work with the military in order to establish democracy in the nation. Thaskin will have to watch from the sidelines.
Kosovo, a Muslim area which has been part of Serbia until NATO and American forces intervened to prevent ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, is preparing to declare its independence and assume control over its own destiny. The vast majority of people in Kosovo are of Albanian Muslim background while about 100,000 are Serbian Christians. There are reports that thousands of Kosovo Serbians are prepared to flee to Serbia amidst fears they will be attacked once Kosovo is an independent nation. Although there are about 15,000 NATO troops in the nation, it is expected they will withdraw if the declaration of independence is issues this coming week. Serbian leaders warn the West that an independent Kosovo will anger their people and drive them into the arms of extreme nationalists who seek war with the new nation. They also point out Serbia will turn toward Putin’s Russia for support and end close relations with the European Union. A common statement heard on the streets of Serbia is that their nation is defending Europe against Muslim aggression.
Once rhetoric is cast aside, there is no evidence the Muslims of Kosovo have any connection with terrorism nor are they fundamentalist in feeling. They are moderate Muslims who do not adhere to the type of fundamentalism that is practiced in nations like America’s ally, Saudi Arabia. An independent Kosovo brings to the world another government in which moderate Muslims are in leadership and who can assist in the fight against radical fundamentalists.
Posted in Christianity, Emerging Issues in the World, Europe, Human Rights, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Kosovo, Muslims, NATO, Russia, Serbia